The GCRI Trust has announced a new study competition in the formats of either a written document or a video presentation on the theme of ‘Improving sustainability in tomorrow’s protected horticulture’.

With entries accepted as either a written desk study, or new for this year, as a video presentation, £2,000 will be awarded to the winner of each of the two categories. Two runners up in each format will each be awarded a prize of £1,000.

The judges are seeking well-written or presented desk studies, or literature reviews, that analyse new technologies, science or novel practices to help the UK protected crops sector lower their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their water, waste and materials usage.
With alarming increases in energy costs, coupled to the ever-changing labour market, growers of protected edibles and ornamentals need to find a path to a new sustainability model for their industry – and quickly!

Last year, the prize was awarded to Janet Mobbs from Lineside Nursery in Warwickshire, with a proposal for an Horticultural Energy Investment Fund. Her study proposed providing growers with the necessary capital expenditure for modern energy sources, in return for an affordable rental charge and repayment of the installation cost when the property is sold.

Colin Frampton, Chair of the GCRI Trust, said: “The winning entry last year identified a possible solution towards net zero carbon emissions in protected horticulture. We are looking forward to more innovative ideas to help us find sustainable solutions to the labour and energy issues facing growers this year.”

Dr Nikki Harrison, GCRI Trustee and Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, said: “Growing Kent & Medway is supporting the promotion of best practice across horticultural businesses, especially through the integration of new measures that help lower carbon emissions and drive sustainability across the food production sector.”

By working together with the GCRI Trust, we are able to support this exciting competition to bring the latest innovations and ideas to business sustainability and horticultural production.”

The GCRI Trust was set up to promote scientific research and education for the environmentally sustainable cultivation of horticultural crops growing in glasshouses, polytunnels and other structures. It has traditionally funded grants to allow scientists and growers to travel overseas to learn about the latest research findings to benefit UK horticulture. With a temporary halt to overseas travel in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Trust introduced the desk study competition.

The 2022 GCRI Desk Study Competition opens on the 6th May 2022 and the closing date for entries is 31st July 2022. Full details and how to enter can be found at gcritrust.org/competition/